Dinosaur Tail Sold In Mexico Auction Sparks Controversy

Posted: Jan 21 2018, 7:42am CST | by , Updated: Jan 21 2018, 8:08am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
Dinosaur Tail Sold in Mexico Auction Sparks Controversy
Credit: EFE

Moroccan authorities have opened an urgent investigation into the apparent trafficking of a rare Moroccan dinosaur fossil

In January, a 160 million-year old Moroccan dinosaur tail was put up for auction in Mexico. The fossil was later sold to an anonymous buyer at around $95,000.

Now, Moroccan authorities have opened an investigation to determine whether the tail fossil was illegally transported out of Morocco.

The 13-foot long tail belongs to a genus of sauropod dinosaur called Atlasaurus and was discovered from Atlas mountains in Morocco, a place known for its fossil abundance. The dinosaur was estimated to be around 17 meters long and weighted 22 tons.

The tail was auctioned off on January 16. Auction's organizer said that any amount above the reserve price was donated to a Foundation to help fund the reconstruction of some 5,000 damaged schools that were destroyed by powerful earthquake in Mexico on September 19.

This is not the first time Moroccan authorities are facing such situation. Last April, a 66-million-year-old sea dinosaur's skeleton was also withdrawn from an auction in Paris and returned to Morocco after Moroccan Association for the Protection of Geological Heritage requested the repatriation of the fossil. The fossil was set for display on March 7 at the Drouot auction house in Paris.

“We will not stay with our hands crossed,” said the director of Cultural Heritage in Morocco, Abdelá Alaoui. “This is about our national heritage. There will be an investigation to find out how this fossil, of a species that only exists in Morocco, was able to leave the country.”

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